Legends and folk stories

Every territory has legends that have been passed down over the centuries. Lucca as well has suggestive legends and some of them concern the territory of Capannori.

LUCIDA MANSI

Lucida Mansi was a beautiful and elegant lady of the noble Antelminelli family of Lucca. Deeply in love with herself, ordered that the Room of the Bride and Groom of her summer estate Villa Mansi was filled with mirrors in which she could admire herself at very time. It is said that she had also hidden a little mirror into the book of the Sacred Lectures, so to be able to admire herself even during the Mass.
Widow from the age of 21, she remarried with the old Gaspero Mansi. This marriage sparked off a fierce debate, not only for the generational gap between the bride and the groom, but also for the dissolution of the young lady. Lucida, in fact, was a haunter of feasts and banquets. She loved surrounding herself with young lovers that she used to kill in the garden of the villa, using devilish tricks and trapdoors filled with sharp blades.
Years passed among flirts and misdeeds but, one day, Lucida mirrored herself and noticed the first wrinkles on her face and the first white hairs silvering her blonde hairs. The Devil took his chance and offered Lucinda 30 years of youth for her soul. The woman, terrified, did not hesitate and accepted.
During the 30 years settled with the Devil, Lucinda saw all her friends and relatives grow old while she preserved her beauty and persisted in her dissolution, surrounding herself with richnesses and luxuries and killing her lovers.
30 years after the pact, the night of the 14th of August 1623, the Devil presented himself to claim what he was entitled to. Lucida, remembering that date, tried to deceive him. She climbed the Tower of the Hours, in Lucca, and tried to put the watch back before it told the midnight. This expedient failed and the devil imprisoned her on a flaming coach that went around the walls, so that anybody could hear the cries of the victim, and then sank into the lake of the botanical garden.
Before dying, Lucida aged and saw her skin wrinkle. It was an absolute torture.
Lucida Mansi was born in 1606 and died in 1649, consummated by the plague. Her body is preserved in the church of the Capuchin order, in Lucca, where the family chapels are located.
Who wants to see the beautiful image of this lady has to dip the face into the lake of the botanical garden of Lucca: here she sleeps.

 

THE OAK OF THE WITCHES 

The Oak of the Witches is an imposing tree of incredible size located in the fraction of San Martino in Colle and it is object of two important legends.
The first one  tells that the oak was the meeting point of witches, who were used to dance and celebrate their rites on its top. The presence of the witches on the top of the oak had not allowed  the full growth of the branches, giving the tree its particular "flat" shape, with horizontal branches. For this reason the tree is usually called "oak of the witches".
The second one is linked to the famous fable of Pinocchio. According to this legend, this oak is the tree under which Pinocchio buried his gold coins during the trip to the Paese dei Balocchi with the Cat and the Fox. It is said that the author of this fable, writing about the Paese dei Balocchi, was thinking about the Settembre Lucchese, month in which the city of Lucca hosts various exhibitions and merry activities. According to this point of view, the "oak of the witches" is located exactly half-way along the road that links Collodi to Lucca.

 

THE MADONNA OF SANTA MARIA DI TOFORI 

The legend refers to the fourteenth-century alabastre statue of the Virgin that is located in the Church of Saint Mary in Tofori. The story tells that it was discovered in the little church of Saint Mary and taken to the parish church of Pieve San Gennaro.  Afterwards, it miraculously appeared again in the Church of Tofori, where it was found the first time. This was considered as a divine sign and the statue was left there.

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